As Instructional Designers, we are all excited when we design a new interactivity, or devise a novel way of presenting content. But do we ensure that our interactivity actually makes sense to the learners without losing out on the essence of the content? Does the “Click on Images” or “Click each step/note” make sense to our learners? Do they grasp the format of the interactivity and are they able to follow the navigation instructions correctly?
The common problems we could face are as follows:
The interactivity could:
- Distort content
- Leave learners in the lurch without giving a proper idea of how to navigate
- Result in not giving a proper idea of the content being covered
- Include too much or dissimilar content
These little oversights on our part will cause learners to lose interest in the interactivity and the creative endeavor will go in vain. But this mistake be avoided by a little preparation at our end. There are simple pointers to ensure that the above-mentioned pitfalls are avoided.
In this blog, I will present a few of them.
1. Go through the content thoroughly
Being familiar with the content will give us a clear idea of which interactivity will work and which won’t.
For example, to present content that has clear sub-headings or titles, it will be more appropriate to use “Click on Tabs” rather than “Click on Numbers”.
2. Provide clear instructions
Ensure you provide accurate instructions as to how the learners are to proceed through the interactivity. Not providing clear navigation instructions will leave them confused. The recommended practice is to place the instruction outside the interactivity so that is it visible throughout.
3. Provide relevant introduction
Provide a concise introduction about what will be covered in the interactivity. The introduction must provide a clear picture of the content to come. Ensure that only related content is covered.
For example, in presenting a “Slideshow” about the benefits of a particular product, it is good practice to write 1-2 lines about the product in the introductory slide and enumerate the benefits in the forthcoming slides.
4. Avoid extra or irrelevant content
Don’t include extraneous content. Being familiar with the content helps out here too. The content included should be in line with the matter presented in the introduction.
Following the same example, the “Slideshow” should not include the disadvantages or risks associated with the product. An interactivity should present only a individual, stand-alone topic.
Some general pointers:
- Ensure that the content is properly structured in terms of parallelism.
- If using pictures, ensure they are relevant to the topic and aligned properly.
- Provide the instruction in bold font and attractive color so that it is not missed.
- Never leave the first slide of the interactivity blank.
- Give an introductory line orienting the learners with the content being presented.
These pointers can be used to ensure the correctness of any presentation pattern in addition to interactivities.
I hope this blog has given you a fair idea of how to design learner-friendly interactivities. Have you come up with a new interactivity that requires special navigation instructions or a unique way of presenting content? Do share your experience with us.